100 Economics Question of the Day: An Intermittent Blog: If They're All Young Hooligans, Why Are Four of Eleven Over 35?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

If They're All Young Hooligans, Why Are Four of Eleven Over 35?

With a hat tip to Tim Harford, The General Manchester Police are reporting their already-public-record convictions via Twitter (@gmpolice).

On a quick check, four of the eleven so far convicted (including the one woman), are over 35. So far:




It appears that legendary "moral decay" began under Margaret Thatcher. Whodathunkit? Well, maybe David Cameron in 2007:

Sometimes a piece of research is published which goes straight to the heart of the national debate – it holds up a mirror to the whole of society and makes us see ourselves as we really are.

That happened this week. On Wednesday, Unicef published a report entitled "An overview of child well-being in rich countries." It brings together comparative research on the material, educational and emotional state of childhood in 21 developed nations.

Britain comes bottom of the list....

Ten years after the current [Blair] Government was elected on the promise to end child poverty and make education its number one priority, Britain comes 18th out of 21 rich countries on material wellbeing, and 19th out of 21 on educational wellbeing. According to the report, British children are among the poorest and least educated in the developed world....

On the radio yesterday morning two local residents were interviewed about the spate of killings in their area....One said, "the children don't seem to have anything to do. They just roam the street.” When she was asked who she blamed for that, she said "the Government, really. They're closing down all the community centres."

Now I like to agree when people blame the Government for things that go wrong. And, more seriously, I also agree that there is a problem with the lack of community facilities in our big cities....

Ultimately, we didn’t need the Unicef report – pages of statistical analysis – to tell us there is a problem with the emotional wellbeing of Britain’s children....

We need common sense in schools. It is madness for the authority of teachers and heads to be second-guessed by outside evaluators when they want to impose simple discipline in their own classrooms. It is madness for a teacher to fear that if he restrains a child who is violently bullying another child, he will end up in court on charges of abuse. It is madness for schools to have to cancel outdoor trips because their insurance policies won’t cover them in case of mishap.

Indeed, it is grimly instructive that the only measure in the Unicef report where Britain does not come at or near the bottom – where we come a respectable 12th out of 21 – is (you guessed it) health and safety. Our children might be the loneliest, worst behaved, unhappiest children in the developed world– but at least they are protected from sprains and bruises....

And I hope they illustrate something of what the Conservative Party under my leadership stands for. When we were last in government, in another political era, we stood for economic revival. We now stand for social revival. We used to stand for the individual. Now we stand for the family, for the neighbourhood – in a word, for society.

How's that working out?

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